Letters to the Editor
FAITH MAGAZINE - May-June 2013
The Editor, St Mary’s and St David’s, 15 Buccleuch Street,
Hawick TD9 0HH, [email protected]
Mgr Burke on Justice
Dear Fr Editor,
I found Mgr Burke’s article on justice to be a very relevant and thought-provoking topic of debate
and discussion for our society at the moment.
Justice is one of the four words inscribed upon the mace of the Scottish Government. This word is considered sacred and it will often be used in frenzied debates and discussions heard at Holyrood. Scottish schools have re-evaluated their missions and aims to include the word justice across the country. And yet, as Mgr Burke succinctly pointed out justice, is a word which is misunderstood or misapplied in our society, certainly from a Catholic context.
Justice has been equated with rights – the rights of the individual over those of the good of society. It is time our society had a real debate about this word justice. It is time our society stopped using it as a catchphrase to appease the liberal elite. It is time we engaged in dialogue and considered the true meaning of justice for all, including the unborn, the unwanted, the marginalised and those close to death.
Derek T Lang
Dear Fr Editor,
I read the most recent issue of Faith magazine and am very happy to become a new subscriber. I found in it a good mix of catechetical, factual and informative articles which together provide a very enlightening and affirming perspective of our faith. James Parker’s article was immensely instructive, challenging the mindset of many who wrongly stereotype those who experience same-sex attraction – an encouraging recognition of their very rightful place among the faithful.
Cormac Burke’s article offers a valuable revision lesson on married life and the place of justice within that relationship. We all need to reflect more on the sacraments – the commitment they demand of us as well as the graces they dispense.
I was greatly moved by your editorial. You rightly but sympathetically mention the reality of inadequate catechesis. Today many mothers and fathers struggle to pass on to their children a faith they do not understand themselves. Alas, we now have a few generations of Catholics, parents and grandparents themselves, who have somehow missed out on or been short-changed by the catechesis they received in their homes, schools or parishes.
With empathy for the poorly catechised, your editorial speaks about the importance of communicating the beauty of Christ and says that to do anything less is a failure of our duty to Christ. This truth undoubtedly resonates loudly among those of us who are involved in catechising youngsters.
The Scottish religious education syllabus, This Is Our Faith, describes the communication of the Faith in the classroom as “an event of grace, realised in the encounter of the Word of God with the experience of the person.” Thus the teacher (or, at home, the parent) must grasp the importance of the treasure they have been entrusted to pass on. Not only must they love what they are teaching; they must show that they love it. Young people are drawn closer to accepting God’s word when they see others living it and teaching it with love.
In teaching, we commonly say that there is an area of the curriculum that is “caught not taught.” We talk also of “the hidden curriculum” – the values and attitudes which are implicitly conveyed by teachers without being openly taught. In Catholic teaching and catechesis, passing on a love of one’s Faith does not happen through rigid lesson planning and learning objectives; what is necessary is so much more subtle that it appears to be, and it often is hidden.
In the RE teacher or catechist there must be a keenness of spirit. The tone and mood in which lessons are delivered must be convincing, and the intention behind every lesson must be genuinely good. Moreover, in our Catholic schools, every Catholic teacher, even though their teaching qualification may be in maths, science, geography or PE, must see themselves as an RE teacher too. By word, by deed and by example, all of us share this duty – which is crucial if our youngsters are to “catch the Faith”.
Dear Fr Editor,
I was delighted to find in the March/April 2013 edition of Faith magazine James Parker’s article “Chastity and Same-Sex Attraction”, which highlights the support available for those who endure same-sex attraction. As he says: “Never before has the need been so great for the people of God to provide spiritual and truly fraternal support for persons who experience differing degrees of same-sex attraction or gender uncertainty.” Quite.
Through EnCourage, the Church is putting her money where her mouth is and I rejoice in that. I was reminded of the late Cardinal Winning’s pledge on Mothering Sunday, 1997: “If you need financial assistance, or help with equipment for your baby, and feel financial pressures will force you to have an abortion, we will help you.” This pledge – another example of the Church putting her money where her mouth is – was of course the founding of what was to become the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative, which supports women who are struggling in any way with their pregnancies.
As laity we need support in every walk of life, including that seemingly ordinary life that is the domestic church. I agree with you that our society does seem to recognise “deep down… that family life is good, beautiful and true” and it is certainly my experience that “there is something special and uncompromising about the Catholic vision of the family”.
However, in order to live that vision, day in and day out, year in and year out, we need support. If it is hard to live according to the teachings of the Church in our society, it is harder still to raise children to have the confidence to live their faith in the future.
I have known the Faith movement for many years and have been privileged to receive from its hands sound catechesis, formation and support. The Faith magazine continues to provide me with a bimonthly boost to living my faith in this little corner of Somerset. I am grateful to you and your team for providing that much-needed support. Long may it continue!
Dear Fr Editor,
Some months ago I wrote to Ireland’s papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, and asked if he would visit Hamilton Park Care Facility. He accepted the invitation and made the pastoral visit on the day I write, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This facility has a capacity of 126 residents, all suffering from differing degrees of acquired brain injury.
The Archbishop spoke about Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette. He then conducted Eucharistic Adoration and led the Rosary with the residents of Hamilton Park, in a most meditative and prayerful manner. Afterwards I had the pleasure of going to lunch with him and I presented him with a copy of Catholicism: A New Synthesis by Fr Edward Holloway. I did this because the Archbishop had done his doctoral studies in sacramental theology, and some time ago Fr David Barrett had written some articles on this subject.
I also mentioned that Fr Hugh MacKenzie, who then edited Faith magazine, had begun doctoral studies in the philosophy of science, with the blessing of the Archbishop of Westminster. I had a copy of the current magazine to offer him, but learned that he already receives it. Archbishop Charles is a great blessing to the Church in Ireland and it is good that he knows about the Faith movement.
Lay pastoral assistant
Hamilton Park Care Facility
Balbriggan, Co Dublin